By Jean Verlich: CNJ news editor
Chris Mondragon describes drum and bugle corps fans as insane because of their loyalty. He’s witnessed their enthusiasm firsthand.
For the second summer, the 20-year-old Clovis native traveled the country as one of the 135 members of the Blue Knights of Denver.
Mondragon can be seen in the Drum Corps International 2006 World Championships competition, which will be broadcast from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday by ESPN2
“What most people don’t realize is how physical it is marching with 30 pounds of metal,” said Mondragon, an Eastern New Mexico University undergraduate and former Clovis High School trombone player.
Because trombones aren’t part of a drum and bugle corps, Mondragon played a contra bass tuba.
Mondragon said the corps practiced five to 14 hours a day.
The tour culminated in the world championships in Madison, Wis., where the Blue Knights finished seventh out of 22 drum and bugle corps, three higher than its 10th place in 2005, Mondragon said.
Julie Barnard, another Clovis High School graduate, joined Mondragon in the Blue Knights. A Texas Tech undergraduate, Barnard plays a mellophone, Mondragon said.
Reporter’s notebook was compiled by CNJ News Editor Jean Verlich. Suggested items may be mailed to Managing Editor Rick White at P.O. Box 1689, Clovis 88102. The e-mail address is: